We chose the relatively easy hike to Northgate Peaks, through fields that are normally flush with wildflowers in June. On this hike we paid the price for the low level of rain that was such a benefit for our hike up the Narrows – there were many fewer flowers than there might otherwise have been. But we enjoyed seeing the Sego Lilies,
the Utah Daisies and this mysterious, delicate purple flower than even a ranger at the information desk at the visitors center could not identify
|Yellow prickly pear flowers|
as well as many lovely little butterflies with checkerboard wings like this one
We also hiked past some incredibly strong-smelling sage plants; I confess I was very highly tempted to break the rule against taking plant parts out of the park to get some of these.
At the end of our hike, we got a view of the Northgate Peaks, including North Guardian Angel (with the deep arch/cave), with the Zion Valley in the distance
Then we drove further up the Kolob Terrace Road to Lava Point, where we looked out at a jumble of volcanic rock below as well as seeing Zion Valley in the distance
We headed back to town to relax in our hotel room, and had a nice snack at the Springdale Fruit Company on the western outskirts of town, before driving eastward along highway 9.
We had these nice looks at the Great Arch and Pine Creek Canyon before entering the west side of the tunnel.
Just to the east of the tunnel was the trailhead for the easy Canyon Overlook trail; by now it was late afternoon so the heat (over 100 degrees) was abating. We hiked past a wavy slot between the rocks below
to get these nice views of Pine Creek Canyon, the switchbacks of road leading up to the west side of the tunnel, and the southern end of Zion Valley
|Pine Creek Canyon from Canyon Overlook, with Highway 9 switchbacks to west end of tunnel|
We drove back to our hotel, and headed out the Spotted Dog Café for a nice dinner, although once again, the local trout was too dry, even though it was encursted with pepitas which should have helped hold in the juices. I might have assumed the the local trout is just different, had I not had it done so well at Cafe Diablo in Torrey. I just have to assume that the problem was overcooking.
We got back to Amber Inn B&B just in time for another show of the datura flowers opening; this time, in addition to the usual rush of big black bumblebees to get to the nectar of the flowers as they opened, we got to watch a hummingbird moth do the same. Nida was as excited as on the our night of arrival.